Story by Zoe Harmon, Staff Writer
Photo Courtesy of Andris Visockis
An athlete. A volleyball player. An Aquinas Saint. Junior Michaela Ryan is all three of these. Ryan, who is a member of the Aquinas College Volleyball team, has been a huge asset in the three years she has been playing. Not only is she a strong athlete, she is a leader both on and off the court.
Most recently, Ryan received her second All-WHAC First Team accolade in addition to being honored on the All-Academic Team. In the 2015 season, Ryan tallied 2.68 kills per set, had a hitting percentage of .289, and led the team with 87 blocks.
Ryan comes to Aquinas from Davison High School, where she spent her career playing basketball, softball, and volleyball. She enjoyed playing all three, but with a rigorous off-season travel volleyball season, her body and schedule could only accommodate one. Naturally, she chose volleyball, which she has been playing since she was 11 years old.
Coming from an athletic family, Ryan always knew she wanted to play in college. Both of her parents played college sports; her mom played volleyball and her dad, football. She also has one brother who played college football. Even if it had not been a goal of hers (although it was), playing a college sport was her destiny.
With such a high familial influence, it is no surprise that Ryan’s biggest inspiration is her mom. As a child, Ryan recalls watching her mom play in leagues on the weekends and then spending time teaching her the basics of the game, which sparked her love for the game. Throughout the years, her mom has continued to be a strong support system. Ryan explains,
“Despite my stubbornness growing up, my mom has always pushed me to do and be the best at what I love. She’s one of my biggest supporters and does everything she can to make sure she doesn’t miss a single match. She encourages me to do well on and off the court and I’m so grateful for that. My mom has been such an inspiration all these years and I could never repay for her for that. ”
Ryan also thanks all of her coaches and teammates for her continued success. She comments,
“I would be nowhere without them and throughout all the years it was them that pushed me and helped me every practice and I will never forget that.” To Ryan, the team is a family that has an unmatchable bond.
Just as Ryan thinks highly of her coaches, they also think highly of her. Coach Katie Vander Meer proudly notes,
“She’s a hard working, coachable player who does whatever is asked of her to the best of her abilities. I’m very proud of her accomplishments over the years and the player she’s become but I know she has even more to offer and I’m looking forward to seeing that in the off season and into her senior season.”
As Ryan thinks about her final year as a Saint she reveals,
“I’ve played volleyball all my life and knowing that my college career and playing competitively will soon come to a close is a very scary and sad thought. Starting in the spring season, I don’t want to have any regrets. Next year is going to be a great season and I can’t wait.” With her positive, energetic attitude, it will be fun to watch Ryan compete in her final season.
Michaela Ryan is an incredible Saint. Aquinas is lucky to have such a well-rounded, positive individual to represent the school both on and off the volleyball court.
About the writer…
Zoe Harmon is in her final year at Aquinas College, majoring in Sports Management/Business Administration and minoring in Communication. Zoe is a member of the Sports Management Club where she serves on the board as Treasurer.She is also a Disney College Program Alumni after spending 7 months in Orlando. Zoe has a great passion for travel and health/fitness and in her free time, she enjoys hiking adventures, biking, and spending time with her friends and family.